Atten – Shun

Being shunned or ignored is one of the most distressing, annoying, and valuable experiences we can have. Dependent upon where and when it happens we may benefit greatly.

a. If our parents ignore us.

Bad, in many instances, but good if we are doing something that deserves to be ignored. Tantrums in supermarkets come to mind, as well as many other instances of childish arrogance. Modern mores often demand that we spare the rod, but we can still remove the child from danger – from the danger of thinking that tantrums are productive – by ignoring the theatre.

It is an act of kindness to those around to remove the actor promptly and take them back home.

b. If our teachers ignore us.

This can be bad if the teacher keeps knowledge from us – but if their disinterest can give us time to learn from other sources and experiences we often get a better education. Not all insect attention is helpful.

c. If our friends ignore us.

They may be acting in loco parentis – in which case we need to think whether we’ve been subjecting them to a tantrum or other vile behaviour. If they are just doing it to be mean, that’s fine. That enables us to determine whether or not they really are friends.

d. If our enemies ignore us.

We can either redouble our efforts to harm them, or relax and let them do it themselves.

All of these thoughts are predicated upon coldness – pretended or real. If we are actively shunned it raises the temperature considerably. The spectrum of this – from perceived avoidance to deliberate insult in the street – is broad. Mild aversion can actually be helpful to the shunned – if they detect it without being seen themselves they have a very valuable piece of information.

More active rebuffs only become problematical if they are observed. A private sneer is small, and need not be bruited about. A public affront does harm if not resented – though in many cases it can be done with humour and redound well on the person who has been insulted. Rarely does it need to proceed to pistols or lawyers.

The social media cut is problematical in that it is so public and so permanent. Think well before starting a flame war.

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